Elsewhere in Patriarchy (Part 3) . . . Obedient Wives Club

By: hawkgrrrl
June 28, 2011

OK, I thought I was done talking about other patriarchal societies, but then I ran across this little gem from Malaysia:  The Obedient Wives club.  This club was formed by a Muslim fringe group called Global Ikhwan on June 4th (earlier this year they also set up a Polygamy Club for women), so it is very much a contemporary story of patriarchal culture alive and well in southeast Asia.  A similar club was formed in Jordan last month, and branches of this club are also springing up in Indonesia.  The Malaysian group already has over 800 members.  The club’s aims are:

  1. To fight divorce
  2. To halt domestic violence
  3. To reduce infidelity
  4. End human trafficking

To accomplish these worthwhile goals, the plan is simple:  make wives more obedient to their husbands, especially in the bedroom.  Are the men off the hook?  No!  It is also partly their responsibility to teach their wives to be obedient.

Bear in mind that Malaysia is one of the most progressive Muslim nations, one in which women hold high political office, more women than men have higher education, and women are definitely not discouraged from working.  In fact, a 2010 survey showed that many Malaysian polygamous families struggle because the man has difficulty supporting the up to 4 wives to which he is entitled, so women often have to handle a career as well to keep their husband in extra wives (ahem, so to speak).

According to the group’s vice president:  “A good wife is a good sex worker to her husband. What is wrong with being a whore … to your husband?”  The club issued a proclamation, although I must say it differs a great deal from our own Proclamation on the Family.  Tidbits from the OWC proclamation:

  • OWC stresses that in Islam, there are 4 things a woman must do to enter Heaven:  pray, fast during Ramadan, protect her chastity, and be an obedient wife.  Mormons are not the only ones who love a list!
  • OWC hastened to clarify that they will not be offering practical sex lessons because that would be haramIn case you were wondering what went on in a harem, now you know.  It’s apparently what men fantasize happens in a pajama party vs. what women know from experience happens in a pajama party.
  • “A hungry man is an angry man.”  To clarify, this means that if there is a lack of sex in the marriage, the husbands will seek sex elsewhere, including from prostitutes, and even rape and incest.  So women are responsible for prostitution, rape, pedophilia and incestNice.
  • Wives should serve their husbands “better than a first-class prostitute.”  The OWC hastened to clarify that this was taken out of context (but putting it back in context didn’t – see explanation – really do it any favors!):

“When we said that husbands should treat wives like first-class prostitutes, we were not putting wives on the same level with prostitutes.  We are talking about first-class elite types, not street hooker types.  (I swear I am not making this up!) Our wives provide men with top-level service.  (WTH?!) However, ordinary prostitutes can only provide good sex, but not love and affection which only a wife can provide.  (Apparently they have never heard of GFEs, the Girl Friend Experience, a service some hookers provide).  Hence as wives we must treat our husbands better.  It’s not just in bed, but everything that a wife can offer.  Optimize your role.  If we provide our husbands more than a prostitute can give, then our husbands will not go out looking for it.”  (So women are responsible for male infidelity.)

Aside from the hairy-legged militant lesbians at Jezebel (that was sarcasm, BTW) who all did a collective morally-outraged spit-take, there are apparently many others who think this OWC is a bunch of crap (myself included).  According to an OWC spokesperson:  “Our noble intention has been unfairly misinterpreted.”  A counter-group on Facebook called “We do not want sexist nonsense from Global Ikhwan” was formed within days and immediately garnered over 2200 supporters.

Johor, a city in southern Malaysia, has rejected an Obedient Wives Club, stating that it is unfair to blame women entirely for divorce when their husbands have extra-marital affairs.  Gee, thanks.

A Muslim women’s group, Sisters in Islam (how easy would it be to rewrite that song Sister in Zion for them?), said Islam advocates marriages based on mutual cooperation and respect. It said domestic violence happens regardless of women’s behavior.  (in other news, water is wet)

Abusive men often use women’s behavior as a sick justification, but in the end, their actions are their responsibility,” said Ratna Osman, acting executive director at rights group Sisters-in-Islam. “To hinge fidelity, domestic violence and the fulfillment of a husband’s responsibilities purely on a wife’s capacity to be obedient, stimulate sexual arousal … is not only demeaning to wives, but to husbands as well.  Communication, not submission, is vital to sustain any healthy relationship.

One Muslim man, Amirul Aftar, wrote: “I do not want a wife to submit to my every beck and call. I want a wife who understands me … we are not your masters, we are your equal.”  And some are not even our equal!

To sum it up:  Women shouldn’t be women’s worst enemy.  Husbands have to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

So, are Mormons hardcore patriarchal or do we barely warrant the term?  We are certainly patriarchal lightweights compared to this, and yet . . .

  • Women are (more or less) put under oath to obey their husbands, but husbands are not required to do the same.
  • YW manuals could certainly use an overhaul in how they address issues like female modesty and chastity to ensure that we are not implying (as frankly I think the manuals sometimes are) that girls are responsible for male sexual responses.  Many of these manuals are not written from a girl’s perspective (based on her own feelings, spiritual and social needs, and intentions) but from that of a man or boy who has been tempted by girls.  But seriously – nothing even close to on par with this OWC.
  • Women do like to keep women in line from time to time, not a very enlightened trend.  Reminds me of The Color Purple when Whoopi is advocating her son beating up his wife Oprah.
  • Brigham Young certainly said some awful things that sound a lot like these statements when talking about the evils of monogamy.  Obviously not contemporary, but still.  His comments to women to suck it up and quit whining about polygamy are certainly a classic.  I wonder how many had the guts to take him up on his invitation to walk out.  What would you have done?
  • The contemporary church is very anti-prostitution, porn, and infidelity, and not only doesn’t blame women for male transgression, but kicks the crap out of the men for it.  Ideally, we should all be treated equally (no special treatment for women), but sometimes the pendulum swings too much the other way in reaction to a former stance.  And Brigham Young’s statements are quite a former stance!

What do you think?  Is the church patriarchal or not?  Do we teach equality or subservience?  Should wives have to obey husbands and not the other way around?  Discuss.

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69 Responses to Elsewhere in Patriarchy (Part 3) . . . Obedient Wives Club

  1. Andrew S on June 28, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    Oops, let’s try having comments open.

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  2. Will on June 28, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    Are you sure you want Will opening this?

    Did Dr. Laura write their mission statement?

    The actions of the men described in the OP as atrocious. To treat women, especially your spouse is the ultimate form of abuse. It is degrading and despicable.

    Women and Men are different. They are different species. Equal in the eyes of God? Absolutely, but they are different especially when it comes to sex. Speaking collectively and not individually, men are visually stimulated. Most men are attracted to the naked female body. Most men, normal men, will have sex: anytime, anyplace and anywhere. Hopefully it is in the confines of a healthy, married relationship. Hopefully it includes sex with your spouse and not yourself or someone else.

    Speaking collectively and not individually, Women, on the other hand, are not as sexually motivated. It is more about relationship, feelings and validation. To please a woman it takes a lot – a lot of romance, a lot of conversation, a lot of validation – an emotional connection. To please a man: show up naked and bring food. We are pretty simple creatures. We all know this, it shouldn’t be any revelation.

    This difference creates a challenge for most marriages. It is the second leading cause of divorce. This friction it is what God intended. He uses it to test our relationships. He uses it to purify our relationships He expects the man to cool and channel his sex drive. He expects the Women to understand the drive of her husband. He expects both of them to work through these issues and resolve them in the spirit of love and understanding. No man is going to feel the need to engage in pornography or adultery if he feels connected sexually at home. Likewise, no woman is going to feel the need to stray if she is emotionally connected to her spouse. Men and Women are expected to work through these issues with love and understanding. They need to recognize each other’s challenges in order to accomplish unity.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 3

  3. Alice (alliegator) on June 28, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    I think the church does a lot to teach equality, but some/many of the day to day things don’t end up that way for many members.

    Even in my life, I’ve never felt unequal, but it bothers me that I’m lucky to feel that way, because the men around me are open minded. That may be my own issue, but I don’t know how to get past it.

    Wives should be considerate of their husbands, and husbands should be considerate of their wives. Neither should feel like they have to “obey” the other. If there is a disagreement, they need to work together to figure out a suitable compromise.

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  4. Dan on June 28, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    I think hawkgrrrl was keeping comments closed until Will was not around so that he wouldn’t start us off…

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  5. Dan on June 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    All I gotta say is THANK GOD! for the secular progressive movement within the United States and Europe that forced me to realize they have been mistreating women like crap throughout most of human history.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 3

  6. Dan on June 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    *forced men, not forced me. :)

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  7. Will on June 28, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    “forced men, not forced me”

    We understand there is a difference.

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  8. Jeff Spector on June 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Well, you already know where I stand visa vis the term.

    I think the LDS Church tries harder to push equality these days than many other religious organizations.

    But it is in the interests of some speical interest within the Church to continue to complain rather than work to make it even better.

    I do agree the manuals need a massive facelift.

    On the same token, I am not sure the world’s so called progressive nature is one to totally emulate.

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  9. hawkgrrrl on June 28, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Comments being closed was absolutely unintentional, so thanks Andrew!

    While OWC’s mission is pretty heinous to anyone from a Western background, to me it’s a glimpse into the not-so-distant past. Clearly you don’t have to be a member of the church to consider this stuff abusive. The LDS obedience language referenced in the OP is a harking back to those days, IMO, and doesn’t reflect the current focus on equality. However, it requires a very fundamental (additional) reimagining of the Adam & Eve story to correct.

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  10. MoHoHawaii on June 28, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    I am shocked, shocked, hawkgrrrl, at your attempt to draw parallels between the Muslim world and the more conservative strains of Mormonism! Patently absurd!

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  11. MoHoHawaii on June 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    [Please liberate my previous comment from moderation.]

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  12. hawkgrrrl on June 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    MHH – did your comment get stuck? I can’t check it from here. Here being Lagoon.

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  13. MoHoHawaii on June 28, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Re #12– It got freed (and is now comment #10). Thanks.

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  14. Will on June 28, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Hawk,

    Lagoon, I can see that from my house. Look northeast, on the hill.

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  15. hawkgrrrl on June 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Will’s getting a thumbs down for living near Lagoon?!

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  16. hawkgrrrl on June 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    To go back to Will’s very unpopular comment, those are stereotypes. Not all women have a lower sex drive than their husband. Also women don’t necessarily have affairs to establish an emotional connection. And men may stray to find an emotional connection. People are more complex than stereotypes. Men don’t stray because their wives are frigid. They stray because they think they will get away with it. At least that’s one reason. The core problem with the OWC is laying all society’s ills at the feet of women.

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  17. Will on June 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Hawk,

    I can see why. Sometimes I appear to be a Jerk. Especially with Dan.

    Maybe I am a Liberal in disguise? Maybe I present the other side in such an inconsiderate way, it pushes people away?

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 1

  18. Jeff Spector on June 28, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    “Maybe I am a Liberal in disguise?”

    It would have to be a better good disguise. :D

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  19. Will on June 28, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    ” Men don’t stray because their wives are frigid. They stray because they think they will get away with it. At least that’s one reason.”

    Speaking of sterotypes, that is a sinister way if looking at men. Bottom line, if eithers spouses needs are not being met, the probability of them looking elsewhere is really high. I would say a correlation coefficient near 1.

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  20. Will on June 28, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    My comments are very popular, I have an 8. Nobody is even close.

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  21. Irony on June 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    “What do you think? Is the church patriarchal or not? Do we teach equality or subservience? Should wives have to obey husbands and not the other way around? Discuss.”

    I think – and it’s probably been mentioned somewhere in your Patriarchy series – that there is a segment of the LDS population who is firmly entrenched in patriarchy, even if they deny the term.

    Take the entire topic of modesty, for example, which is almost entirely geared towards women and, specifically, young women. Young women are responsible for repressing the male sex drive (by dressing modestly) and any attempt to dress immodestly (per the LDS definition) is only going to exacerbate the male sex drive. And, thus, it’s a sin for YW to dress scantily or bare anything more than a wrist in public. And, that says nothing of talks like Packer’s old “factory” talk.

    Plus, with comments from church leaders about dress being in direct correlation with our relationship with deity, and we’re confronted with a few issues.

    Then, you take a YW to the temple where she is taught to obey the husband and I am certain there is a segment of the LDS female population who takes that commandment to the extreme. It may be a small percentage, but I bet there is a definite non-zero chance that some women take that commandment to mean subservience to the Priesthood, err husband.

    The way I see it: the LDS is governed largely by men between the ages of 60-90+ (at the most influential levels). These men were raised in an era where women were responsible for having dinner ready when they returned home from work (promptly at 5:30pm), raised in an era where women were strongly discouraged from entering the workforce, raised in an era where male offspring were more advantageous (more workers for the farm or family business, carrying on the family name, etc), raised in an era where stereotypical men didn’t do the cleaning, the dishes, the laundry, etc.

    In sum, the leaders of the church are those from a generation which is largely out of sync with today’s generation. As such, some teachings of subservience seep through (they may not be prevalent, but they certainly exist).

    And, if you take Will’s point of view that anything published by the church – manuals, magazines, public pronouncements, etc. – is “official” doctrine, then – at the very least – a dichotomy exists.

    [P.S. On the subject of manuals, especially when someone suggests that manuals are "official doctrine", I've always enjoyed this quote: "…Many have noted the strong tendency of Latter-day Saints to avoid making waves. They seem strangely touchy on controversial issues. This begets an extreme lack of candor among the saints, which in turn is supported by a new doctrine according to which we have a Prophet at our head who relieves us of all responsibility for seeking knowledge beyond a certain point, making decisions or taking action on our own. From this it follows that one must never question a manual or Lesson Book, even though it may swarm with errors and evasions. But obedience, the first step in enlightenment, is not the last. (Hugh Nibley, “Endowment History,” June 1986, unpublished manuscript, p. 74-75.)]

    For example, in the current YW manual (lesson: Preparing for an Eternal Marriage), the following counsel is given to the YW:

    “Explain that a young man on a mission was asked what he missed most about being away from home. “Mom’s great cooking,” he replied without hesitation. A young woman away at school was asked what she missed most. “The happy feeling Mom created in our home. It was always tidy and was decorated with her own creations that made our home feel special to us.” A new father was asked what he missed when his wife went to the hospital to have their first child. “I guess I didn’t really realize all the things she was doing to make our home a nice place to be. With a new baby coming into our home, I am especially grateful that my wife has the homemaking skills necessary to take care of our family and household.”

    And this:

    ““God gives priesthood power to worthy male members of the Church, who receive it by prophecy and the laying on of hands by His authorized servants (see Articles of Faith 1:5; Hebrews 5:1, 4). The priesthood enables mortals to act in God’s name for the salvation of the human family. Through it they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern God’s kingdom on earth” (Melchizedek Priesthood Leadership Handbook, p. 1).

    …What blessings of the priesthood are available to every woman in the Church? Show the pictures of priesthood ordinances as appropriate during the discussion.

    Write the young women’s ideas on the chalkboard. Be sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. The answers may include the following: baptism for the remission of sins, confirmation and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, the temple endowment, temple marriage, temple ordinances for the dead, a baby’s name and blessing, a father’s blessing, administration for illness, patriarchal blessings, being set apart for Church service, receiving home teachers, personal interviews with bishopric members.

    Help the young women to see that many of the most valuable blessings in our lives come through the priesthood.”

    So while I think that – at the grassroots level – most members are more aligned with equality, the manuals and curriculum of the church certainly lay the foundation for an understanding in subservience (at least it can be read that way).

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  22. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    Irony,

    “Take the entire topic of modesty, for example, which is almost entirely geared towards women and, specifically, young women. Young women are responsible for repressing the male sex drive (by dressing modestly) and any attempt to dress immodestly (per the LDS definition) is only going to exacerbate the male sex drive. ”

    I think this is an extrapolation of what is really taught. Our young people are taught modesty because of teachings given to us by God. It has to do with self-respect. In contrast to society, young people and young women in particular are taught to use their attributes to attract attention to themselves. In an extreme paradox, the women’s movement taught young girls that they can do anything they choose based on their intelligence and not on their so-called feminine charms, but yet, everything else from movies to music to magazines to TV to celebrities screams otherwise.

    Young men should get equal treatment on dress, but the emphasis is placed on how to treat a young woman and to have respect for her.

    Ultimately, we are each responsible for ourselves and how we react in spite of outward appearances. But, each gender should show respect for themselves and others.

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  23. Will on June 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    “Young women are responsible for repressing the male sex drive (by dressing modestly) and any attempt to dress immodestly (per the LDS definition) is only going to exacerbate the male sex drive”

    I will qualify one thing in my previous comment, and add attractive in front of naked (or partially naked) female body. It is a temptation for most men. It is a piece of chocolate cake to a fatty. It is alcohol to a drunk. It is an Ipad visible behind an unlocked car door to a thief. It is a very real, very clear temptation for most men. Lust is a very real issue, even in the LDS faith. It is listed with gluttony, greed and pride as one of the deadly sins. Just ask Hue Hefner and Larry Flint how well that one works, they have made Billions. They have exploited attractive females for years.

    Yes, absolutely 100 percent yes, the man should learn to control these urges – to control the natural man. This should be taught to all men in the church. But the woman; the attractive woman anyway, needs to understand the temptation they are offering. With this said it is totally fair and wise for the LDS faith to teach this to the females.

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  24. Justin on June 29, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Will — body modesty is not a principle of the gospel.

    It’s been said: “I often think that a slightly exposed shoulder emerging from a long satin nightgown packed more sex than two naked bodies in bed.

    As it is Satan’s intention to have everyone break the law of chastity — he wants people to use clothing to hide their nakedness. If everyone were naked, the law of chastity would be broken less, not more.

    It was Satan who introduced the concept of body modesty to our first parents — having them cover up and creating the illusion of shame, so that there would be enticement of sin that could allure people into uncovering “the sinful/secret parts,” followed by the guilt of acting shameful.

    The target of virtually all talks on body modesty is females: She is told how and how not to dress. She is taught this by her mother, by her Sunday school teachers, and by her priesthood leadership.

    All of this repression, if ever gets let out, leads to rampant breaking of the law of chastity [which is Satan’s plan]. And if it isn’t let out, then it leads to depression and an unsatisfactory marital love life [again, Satan’s plan].

    Males, for the most part, hardly get a mention in body modesty talks. We may go around a pool or beach without covering up our chest or nipples — we are not told to wear shorts below a certain length — or make sure to keep our shoulders and back covered, etc.

    Modesty oppression is always a girl thing.

    Males just get oppressed in other ways — like the white shirts, ties, clean-shaven, short hair, etc.

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  25. Will on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Justin,

    Interesting. Clearly food for thought. I need to digest this one for a while.

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  26. hawkgrrrl on June 29, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Irony – those quotes from the YW manual are pretty bad. I have long suspected this is why I am never called to the YW, because I’d have to go off the script to avoid messing up our young sisters’ heads.

    I really don’t encounter too many people who meet these stereotypes anymore, but I get glimpses now and again that they exist. For example, in visiting with family last night, my sister-in-law said that a young couple in their ward just had a baby, and someone offered to bring in meals. He proudly said that wasn’t necessary since his wife had delivered naturally and was totally fine cooking their meals. Was he right or just clueless and lacking in empathy? Hard to say. But that’s the type of attitude that I think is being described in this passage from the YW manual: “I guess I didn’t really realize all the things she was doing to make our home a nice place to be.” Why wouldn’t a husband be aware of the things the wife does to contribute to the home? And why wouldn’t the wife recognize the husband’s contribution (which isn’t even mentioned in the passage)? That’s not an equal partnership being described. That’s an indentured servitude. Making a home is something both spouses do, not just womenfolk.

    I would caution all YW against marrying this kind of man under any circumstances, and I would teach the YM that they should find someone with whom they want to build a life through an equal partnership, not just a pretty face who can cook well. I’ve no idea what they are teaching the YM. I suspect it has little to do with this stuff and is more about how to prepare for a mission. Not such a bad message for the YW either, rather than teaching them to rely on a man as their spiritual head.

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  27. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Hawk:

    You needn’t look far to see some of what the YM are being taught (from this years manual):

    “Emphasize that the young man’s mother gave him life, encourages him on to high accomplishments, overlooks his faults and failings, and is usually the last to give up hope for him if he goes astray. She also washes and presses his clothes, cooks his food, keeps the house clean, nurses him when sick, and does much to establish the quality of the home he lives in.”

    Jeff:

    “Our young people are taught modesty because of teachings given to us by God. It has to do with self-respect. In contrast to society, young people and young women in particular are taught to use their attributes to attract attention to themselves.”

    Jeff:

    LDS do as much to “attract attention to themselves” as other cultures, even if in different ways. Likewise, modesty almost exclusively deals with outward appearances (clothes, jewelry, etc.) and has little to do with what a person really is/isn’t.

    One of the unfortunate by-products of modesty lessons is that it teaches us (and especially the youth) to judge someone based off what they are wearing. (i.e., If someone is wearing a skimpy shirt/skirt, they must want sexual attention and are therefore a sinner.).

    It does precious little to bring people closer to Christ. The scriptures I’ve read seem to suggest that we take the exact opposite course (i.e. ignoring apparel, clothing, etc). All the focus on modesty (be it white shirts or short haircuts for men, or be it long skirts, long shirts and one pair of earrings for women) actually detracts from the message of the Savior, IMO. It creates a system of judgment whereby we think we can judge others motives and intentions, whereby we can justify ourselves and whereby we set a system of legalism that, more often than not, is the metric we use to make decisions of worthiness.

    Perhaps – as Justin has mentioned in the past – we use this method (outward appearances) because the gifts of the Spirit are largely absent today and we have no other way to judge people…

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  28. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Justin:

    “It was Satan who introduced the concept of body modesty to our first parents — having them cover up and creating the illusion of shame, so that there would be enticement of sin that could allure people into uncovering “the sinful/secret parts,” followed by the guilt of acting shameful.

    The target of virtually all talks on body modesty is females: She is told how and how not to dress. She is taught this by her mother, by her Sunday school teachers, and by her priesthood leadership.

    All of this repression, if ever gets let out, leads to rampant breaking of the law of chastity [which is Satan’s plan]. And if it isn’t let out, then it leads to depression and an unsatisfactory marital love life [again, Satan’s plan].”

    What would you do to mitigate the repression, especially from a realistic standpoint. The easy answer (per your original comment), might be to do away with clothing entirely and live in naked tribal societies. As titillating as that might be (until people get used to it), it’s incredibly impractical for most of us (read: me).

    If you had/have a daughter who has been baptized and is approaching YW age (or any age prior to YW or as a YW), what would you teach her from a practical standpoint to avoid the repression you speak of?

    I’m genuinely interested as I have a daughter in one of those age brackets I noted, and a lot of what I read in the YW manuals does little but increase the repression (i.e. men as leaders, women as co-equals but not really who are dependent on priesthood holders to tell them what to wear, to tell them to avoid turning men on (because, after all, we men have no responsibility to monitor our lustful desires towards these voluptuous (or not) women as we grow through puberty), that they should be home cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc.

    Thoughts?

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  29. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Irony,

    “LDS do as much to “attract attention to themselves” as other cultures, even if in different ways. Likewise, modesty almost exclusively deals with outward appearances (clothes, jewelry, etc.) and has little to do with what a person really is/isn’t.”

    Well, it actually does. As you say, in the LDS culture, there can be an over-emphasis on appearance which does speak to a person’s motivation since we are counseled against “costly and fine apparel.”

    “One of the unfortunate by-products of modesty lessons is that it teaches us (and especially the youth) to judge someone based off what they are wearing. (i.e., If someone is wearing a skimpy shirt/skirt, they must want sexual attention and are therefore a sinner.).”

    What other reason would someone have to wear something like that? You are adopting a societal norm as being equivalent with modesty as taught by God. Now, having said that, even LDS dress standards have loosened over the years in line, to some degree with society, but not to extreme we see today.

    “All the focus on modesty (be it white shirts or short haircuts for men, or be it long skirts, long shirts and one pair of earrings for women) actually detracts from the message of the Savior, IMO.’

    The focus on modesty is an application of a gospel principle to treat our bodies with respect and not defile them. If one choses to ignore the counsel on modesty, then what does that say about their understanding of the principle or doctrine?

    While I would agree that the whole modesty can be well overblown, I am in favor of teaching correct principles and let people figure out for themselves how to apply them.

    If gifts of the spirit are absent it is because they chose not to use them or fail to understand the principles and follow them to the point where they are entitled to use them.

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  30. hawkgrrrl on June 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    I think the best counter-lesson to these harmful stereotypes is just the way we live our lives. For example, my kids know that both dads and moms cook, clean, do laundry, and help sick family members. My kids know that both parents sometimes go on business trips, and the other picks up the slack. My kids know that what they look for in a spouse is a life partner. When we talk about these inadvertent messages from YM and YW lessons, my kids usually just laugh them off, although I have heard some alarmingly sexist comments from my boys who are repeating things they’ve heard (such as how women are not as important because they don’t have the priesthood). We talk about those things when I hear them, and I correct that kind of behavior to the extent I can.

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  31. Will on June 29, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Justin,

    Satan is marketing the naked body too and it is working. Pornography is a huge issue, mostly with men. Are you saying it would be less of an issue if dress standards were relaxed?

    A buddy of mine related a story when he was a youth in Washington. He was LDS and was about 9. He found a playboy in a shared fort and brought it home. He brought it into the living room and started browsing through it right in front of his parents. Neither of them said a word. Not one word. He said he lost interest after about 10 minutes, threw the magazine away and said he has never looked at one since. Is this similar to want you are saying? It is only a temptation because of repression?

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  32. hawkgrrrl on June 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Jeff: “What other reason would someone have to wear something like that?” Because it’s a hot day? When I was a teen, I used to like to wear shorts, tank tops and flip flops to stay cool on the hot & humid days that were common during the summers where I lived. I wasn’t trolling for male attention because I was (mentally at least) too young to even consider that.

    The weird thing that happens in LDS culture, IMO, is that YM/YW are taught to consider pretty much exclusively the outward obedience of a prospective spouse, without regard to more important factors such as intelligence, interests, life dreams, personality traits, etc. In our culture, anyone who doesn’t meet the “worthy” factor taught is dropped like a hot rock (like the multi-earringed girl in E. Bednar’s story), but on the flip side, anyone who is “worthy” (as gauged in a fairly superficial manner) is pretty much equally as good as anyone else “worthy.” That’s not a very strong foundation for a good marriage, IMO. But I saw plenty of that view at BYU.

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  33. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Hawk,

    “When I was a teen, I used to like to wear shorts, tank tops and flip flops to stay cool on the hot & humid days that were common during the summers where I lived.”

    This is perfectly understandable. There is a way to wear clothing that does not have to step over the bounds of modesty even on a hot day.

    “IMO, is that YM/YW are taught to consider pretty much exclusively the outward obedience of a prospective spouse, without regard to more important factors such as intelligence, interests, life dreams, personality traits, etc.”

    You really think that? Certainly, you have to start somewhere, that being outward appearance. But often times, that is totally negated due to the other factors you mentioned.

    “In our culture, anyone who doesn’t meet the “worthy” factor taught is dropped like a hot rock (like the multi-earringed girl in E. Bednar’s story)”

    Well, I thought that story was ill-advised in the best case and just plain dumb in the worst. And yes, with the strong emphasis on getting married (especially reinforced recently), bad decisions are made, no question.

    But it is also up to both parties to insure a good match is made, not just one that looks good on paper.

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  34. Will on June 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Hawk/Jeff:

    It goes to what I was saying. Put another way, homley = modesty. If you are undesirable to the public in general and you can pretty much wear what you want. You are the carrot to the fatty, not the choclate cake. It is only immodest, if it is desirable.

    The church is just not as offensive as I am, so they take the soft approach and present it to
    everyone. In short, cover the temptation. Hide the cake. Stay away from the booze. If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 2

  35. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Jeff:

    “What other reason would someone have to wear something like that? You are adopting a societal norm as being equivalent with modesty as taught by God. Now, having said that, even LDS dress standards have loosened over the years in line, to some degree with society, but not to extreme we see today.”

    Really? Have you seen how the LDS dress in Utah or other western states? I’m adopting the “societal norm as being equivalent with” Godly modesty? You need to get out more. I’m sure the LDS population in Colorado is enough to see exactly how much in line LDS are with “societal norms” re: clothing.

    “Well, it actually does. As you say, in the LDS culture, there can be an over-emphasis on appearance which does speak to a person’s motivation since we are counseled against “costly and fine apparel.”

    The scriptures might counsel against “costly and fine apparel,” but it’s certainly in vogue in nearly all the wards I’ve attended in the past 10+ years. Heck, we might as well don cufflinks they do in GC if that’s how we define things.

    What is it with the LDS’ ability to define their Sunday apparel by what the business world deems acceptable anyway? Can’t we come up with some other way of dressing, or is both our imagination and revelation limited to what the business world does?

    “The focus on modesty is an application of a gospel principle to treat our bodies with respect and not defile them. If one choses to ignore the counsel on modesty, then what does that say about their understanding of the principle or doctrine?

    While I would agree that the whole modesty can be well overblown, I am in favor of teaching correct principles and let people figure out for themselves how to apply them.”

    Exactly where does modesty fall in the line of “gospel principles”? Is that before or after faith? repentance? Seems to me as though the “gospel” was already concisely defined in the scriptures, without us needing to add “more or less” to it (3 Nephi 11:32-40).

    Teaching people correct principles is one thing, encumbering them in a system of legalism that defines everything they do and are is something entirely different.

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  36. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    “Put another way, homely = modesty. If you are undesirable to the public in general and you can pretty much wear what you want. You are the carrot to the fatty, not the chocolate cake. It is only immodest, if it is desirable.”

    I gotta say, Will, that is one of the weirdest things you ever written.

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  37. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Will:

    “The church is just not as offensive as I am, so they take the soft approach and present it to
    everyone. In short, cover the temptation. Hide the cake. Stay away from the booze. If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.”

    You might want to read JST Mark 9:46. Slightly different twist on those words.

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  38. Justin on June 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Irony:

    If you had/have a daughter who has been baptized and is approaching YW age (or any age prior to YW or as a YW), what would you teach her from a practical standpoint to avoid the repression you speak of?

    We teach our daughters from as early on as parents teach kids things that clothing has nothing to do with respect for God or for yourself.

    We teach that their bodies were made modestly by God. We explain that the reason we wear clothes [for instance, I'm at work right now -- clothed in a shirt and pants] is for the sake of others.

    We teach them that [from 1 Corinthains] when you are with those who are weak, you should share their weakness because you have a desire to bring the weak to Christ. It is best to try and find common ground with people, doing everything you can that you might save them.

    We try to put clothing into its proper perspective. It bothers old ladies at church for my wife to wear a sleeveless dress to church [even though we have the marks of the priesthood on the breasts]. So she wears other clothing. Our neighbors are bothered by our children playing outside naked. So we put at least underwear on them to before they go out.

    But I don’t feel repressed by any of this — because we’ve grown to do it out of a love for them in their weaknesses. Most people honestly can’t conceive of nudity not being related to sex. It’s sad. I feel bad for them.

    The only exception we have to our rule of honoring the weaknesses of others is breast-feeding in public. In our state, it is legal for a mother to breastfed in any place she is legally allowed to be at. However, many times my wife has been asked to please cover-up or please stop doing that here. She’ll usually reply pretty rudely to them — because that’s an issue that is worth being irritating about.

    If a YW president told my daughter she had to wear such-and-such to be modest or worthy [especially if she said it was for the sake of some YM] — I’d hope she’d just smile and tell her that she’s right, if God wanted us going around naked — we’d been born that way. But realistically, she’d probably just ignore it.

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  39. Justin on June 29, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Will:

    Satan is marketing the naked body too and it is working. Pornography is a huge issue, mostly with men.

    And why is he able to market the naked body so effectively? Do you think he could market the ubiquitous just as well? Could he make water “a huge issue, mostly with fish”?

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  40. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    “Exactly where does modesty fall in the line of “gospel principles”? Is that before or after faith? repentance? Seems to me as though the “gospel” was already concisely defined in the scriptures, without us needing to add “more or less” to it (3 Nephi 11:32–40).”

    I certainly would not put modesty in the top 5 of gospel principles if we were making a list. But it is up there. As a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, the Lord himself clothed them to “hide their nakedness.”

    Should that not be a standard for us? Satan told them to just cover their private parts. The Lord, as least as it is portrayed to us, did more for them.

    What happens in Utah or Colorado or anywhere else by members and how they dress does not make it right. I suppose all the talk of modesty is a result that members are not paying enough attention to this issue.

    Not sure why you are strongly defending lack of modesty just because it might be a world norm and some members cucumber to it.

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  41. Justin on June 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    I certainly would not put modesty in the top 5 of gospel principles if we were making a list.

    Wow — that’s the quote of the week for me!

    But it is up there. As a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, the Lord himself clothed them to “hide their nakedness.”

    Moses: “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of askins, and clothed them.

    Genesis: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make acoats of skins, and clothed them.

    Temple ceremony: “Jehovah, inasmuch as Adam and Eve have discovered their nakedness, make coats of skins as a covering for them.

    I see “covering” and “hiding” as two different things. The officially produced garments can be said to cover your nakedness — but I can assure you that if you walk around in just those garment, you will not be hiding anything.

    Also like Moroni — who though was wearing a robe — could be discovered by Joseph to have had no other clothing on but the robe. How could Joseph had discerned that unless Moroni’s nakedness was covered — but not hidden?

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  42. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I don’t know the clothing rules for angels so it’s a bit hard for me to respond. I am also not sure how far Joseph took his investigation on Moroni’s attire or if it was just an observation. And it might have no bearing on how we should clothe ourselves in this life.

    And let’s face it, Justin, you are pretty far out of the mainstream of Mormon thinking. So I don’t know that we can come to any agreement.

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  43. Justin on June 29, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    And let’s face it, Justin, you are pretty far out of the mainstream of Mormon thinking.

    Nevermind — new quote of the week for me.

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  44. Will on June 29, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Irony,

    Sorry, I don’t have access to the JST on my Iphone. Help me out?

    Jeff:

    Direct, yes; offensive, possibly; weird, I don’t see it; true, absolutely. The brethren, with the modesty standards are trying to hide the chocolate cake so to speak. They are trying to help men with their lustful desires. It is not, and should not, be their only approach. They need to teach them to curve the natural man.

    As for my statement, somewhat offensive, but true – it is not immodest if it not desirable. It is not a temptation if it is not desirable. Some women could wear whatever they want and it wouldn’t be the slightest temptation for men. In fact, it just might be the anti-porn.

    It was even prevalent in the Old Testament; it was Isaac that had to hide his wife in public because she was so beautiful. He had to pretend he was her brother. She attracted attention. She would have attracted more if she were fully, or even partially, unclothed.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 1

  45. Will on June 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Irony:

    Got it, thanks. That does add a different twist on this scripture.

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  46. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Jeff:

    “Should that not be a standard for us? Satan told them to just cover their private parts. The Lord, as least as it is portrayed to us, did more for them.”

    One could argue that the skins given to Adam + Eve were merely for protection from the elements.

    Likewise, modesty is a strictly cultural argument. In the Church, modesty – like most things – has taken a decidedly American twist. The talks on modesty – shirts that cover the shoulders, one set of earrings, knee-length skirts, etc., are all based on an American concept of clothing. Teach those things, through the wonderfully correlated lesson manuals, in the hinterlands of Africa or South America or elsewhere and it is patently ridiculous.

    That lady in Africa walking around with bare breasts has no issue with modesty, we do because we’ve been told that it’s immodest. That woman in the Amazon breastfeeding in public has no issue with modesty, we do because we’re ashamed of the human body.

    Modesty is simply a reflection of the culture and the prevailing winds. Wait 20 years and what is defined as “modest” will most certainly change, and the LDS will then be teaching that form of modesty as necessary to eternal salvation and keeping men from lusting after that hot young thing over there.

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  47. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    “Not sure why you are strongly defending lack of modesty just because it might be a world norm and some members cucumber to it.”

    Wow, there’s a leap in the discussion.

    I’m not “defending lack of modesty”, I’m simply putting forth the point that modesty shouldn’t even be a gospel principle.

    Let people come unto Christ and stop putting modesty up on the same pedestal/level as faith, repentance or any of the real gospel principles. Stop teaching for commandments the teachings of men. Stop focusing on outward appearances. Stop judging people for what they wear, how long their hair is, what color their shirt is, how many sets of earrings they have, how many tattoos they have, whether their skirts are knee length or not, whether their shirts cover the shoulder …

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  48. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Irony,

    “That lady in Africa walking around with bare breasts has no issue with modesty, we do because we’ve been told that it’s immodest. That woman in the Amazon breastfeeding in public has no issue with modesty, we do because we’re ashamed of the human body.”

    These are not church members who have been through the Temple, are they? So I am not sure that is a standard we should be looking to. Again, you are using a worldly example and not necessarily a practice that God would sanction.

    Plus we are also not talking about being ashamed of our bodies. It is only a question of what is and is not modest. Modesty varies by culture.

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  49. Will on June 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Irony,

    “That lady in Africa walking around with bare breasts has no issue with modesty, we do because we’ve been told that it’s immodest. That woman in the Amazon breastfeeding in public has no issue with modesty, we do because we’re ashamed of the human body”

    I agree with the first sentence in total. The second one, I am still thinking about and my only consternation is the term ashamed. I would say in our culture, speaking collectively not individually, we have done a better job at marketing breasts and butts than other cultures. We put more emphasis on them. We have made them desirable. We have made them sexual objects. We have made them a temptation. Again, it is only a temptation if it is desirable. It is not immodest if it is not desirable. If it is part of the culture and a way of life for several thousand years, it is just that, a way of life.

    Our culture puts way too much emphasis on beauty. My wife is beautiful, but that’s not why I love her so much. By far the biggest attractions are the things that she stands for, the things that we share in common – our faith, family and friends.

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  50. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    “I’m not “defending lack of modesty”, I’m simply putting forth the point that modesty shouldn’t even be a gospel principle.”

    I guess I do not understand why not. Is self-worth a gospel principle? Is chastity a gospel principle? Is not committing adultery or not having lust a gospel principle?

    I do agree that harshly judging people based on appearance is not right and part of embracing the Gospel is changing our nature from a carnal one to a more Christ-like one. That means following the Gospel view of modesty and not the world or cultural view.

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  51. Will on June 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Jeff,

    Is there really a difference between a skeleton thin woman (without plastic surgery and no boobs) and fat guy with a shaven chest and man boobs? If that is all you can see, would you be able to tell which one is a man and which one is a woman?

    If you couldn’t, why is one immodest and the other one is not?

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  52. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    “Again, you are using a worldly example and not necessarily a practice that God would sanction.

    Plus we are also not talking about being ashamed of our bodies. It is only a question of what is and is not modest. Modesty varies by culture.”

    So, if modesty varies by culture, and the church largely teaches the culture du jour, what exactly are God’s standards of modesty? The reason the comment on being ashamed was raised is because modesty and being ashamed are frequently linked in LDS talks and lesson manuals. The body is a temple, it is argued, and to not cover it appropriately is to sadden the creator of the temple, which creates shame in the one running the temple. What you so easily dismiss out of hand is quite prevalent in LDS talks through GC and YM + YW lesson manuals.

    What about Isaiah (Isaiah 20), was he being immodest when he walked naked for 3 full years? What about Saul (1 Sam 19:24) when he stripped off all his clothes, prophesied and stayed naked all day + night?

    And, do we know that God does not sanction the dress standards of tribes in Africa or the jungle over ours in America?

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  53. Irony on June 29, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    P.S.

    “I guess I do not understand why not. Is self-worth a gospel principle? Is chastity a gospel principle? Is not committing adultery or not having lust a gospel principle?”

    The definition of the gospel (scriptural reference I gave before – 3 Ne 11) is very precise. We like to broaden the gospel to include morality and every other thing under the sun that we find good, but Christ was very, very precise in definition he provided.

    I find Paul Toscano’s thoughts on the matter insightful, even if I don’t agree with how he comes across [listen until the 11:00 minute mark (almost on the nose) of this podcast] where he suggests that morality is the enemy of all religion, and that, as a religion, we need to refocus our teachings on Christ.

    If we focused more on Christ, and His teachings, then we wouldn’t have to teach lessons on modesty or tattoos or earrings or the superfluous ideas you correlate with gospel principles.

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  54. hawkgrrrl on June 29, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    On the one hand I see what Will is saying about not everyone being attractive in shorts and tank top, but that is still irrelevant to whether YW are responsible for male attention. Cute girls will get male attention whatever hideous burlap bag they wear, modest or not. Isn’t all this male-centered modesty talk just wrong for YW? Why not talk to girls from a female vantage point that makes sense to a teenage girl? Why tell non-sexual young teens that they are objects of lust? The only outcomes of that are going to be disgust and revulsion toward sex or a desire to use one’s sexuality to gain power. Instead we could talk to girls about making and owning their own choices. Young girls do not need the weight of this on them. They are innocent. They need to learn self-reliance and self-respect.

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  55. Will on June 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Hawk,

    I appreciate what you are saying and fully agree the primary emphasis should be on the male. The teaching should be directed at them. They should learn to cool and channel their desires. I have served the young men in various capacities and pounded that issue as a group and in private.

    As for the young women, perhaps they don’t need to be taught the true desires and attention of a lot of men – young and old. Perhaps they don’t need to understand what desires some clothes, or lack thereof, will create in men. I just don’t want my daughters to learn the hard way. I would rather have an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure.

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  56. brjones on June 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    “I correct that kind of behavior to the extent I can.”

    I don’t mean offense, Hawk, but I find it mind boggling that you consciously endorse a worldview and belief structure to your children that you acknowledge teaches this kind of thing to your sons and daughters, even if just as a product of culture, and which you acknowledge you cannot fully counteract. How are you able to reconcile this?

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  57. Jeff Spector on June 29, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    “So, if modesty varies by culture, and the church largely teaches the culture du jour, what exactly are God’s standards of modesty?”

    Who said the Church teaches “culture Dejour?”

    One should expect there to only be one standard.

    I find Paul Toscano interesting, but not a source of Gospel truth.

    “If we focused more on Christ, and His teachings.”

    So Christ teachings are limited to??????

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  58. Justin on June 30, 2011 at 7:24 AM

    And, do we know that God does not sanction the dress standards of tribes in Africa or the jungle over ours in America?

    We have a family member who served his mission in Africa. The mission forbade them from preaching the gospel to the natives because the women were topless.

    Why would a mission president make that decision unless it reflects [by extension of his titular office] the very will of God?

    So — you take the gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — unless their women don’t have the God-given shame to cover up their nipples.

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  59. hawkgrrrl on June 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    BrJ – I also endorse being an American to them, but not every aspect of American culture and values. There is no flawless fit when it comes to cultural norms and values. Every one of them requires adaptation. The gospel doesn’t teach sexism, IMO; ignoramuses do. I haven’t found a culture devoid of those yet.

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  60. Irony on June 30, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Jeff:

    “Who said the Church teaches “culture Dejour?”

    One should expect there to only be one standard.

    I find Paul Toscano interesting, but not a source of Gospel truth.

    I say they teach the culture du jour. If you go back through the Journal of Discourses and some of the discourses on dress/modesty, you will see a drastically different message than you see today [John Taylor gave a particularly good one I read once]. It was directed at the then contemporary culture. In the 50s and 60s there was a separate message directed at the then contemporary culture. Today, the message is again different and directed at the then contemporary culture. If you expect there to be one standard, then you’ll have to reconcile that with past statements and teachings which are culturally based. And, interestingly enough, it was all based on an American culture… so be it. Maybe “American” is the One True and Living Standard we should look to.

    As to Toscano and him not being a source of gospel truth, I suppose you could say that about everyone since truth is not a position one attains or is called to. Everyone has an opinion and take on the gospel. What about that 11-12 minute section and morality being an enemy of religion do you oppose or disagree with exactly? Do you have an argument against it, or do you just disagree because it’s coming from Toscano?

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  61. Jeff Spector on June 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    “What about that 11-12 minute section and morality being an enemy of religion do you oppose or disagree with exactly? Do you have an argument against it, or do you just disagree because it’s coming from Toscano?’

    I haven’t listened to it in more than a year now and i am not intending on opening up that discussion.

    I did mention before that the standard of modesty has changed over the years in the Church and tracked society to some degree.

    But I am more interested in your assertion that modesty is not part of the gospel.

    could you address that and, as a result, my question of what the Gospel of Christ is limited to?

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  62. Irony on June 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Jeff:

    The doctrine of Christ is limited to what is spelled out in 3 Nephi 11:32-40. I’ve already pointed that out. In fact, this is the 3rd time that I’ve done so. If that definition isn’t good enough for you, then you need to take it up with someone else. [The same thing is spelled out in 2 Nephi 31, D&C 10 and elsewhere.]

    That is the doctrine.

    Everything else is tangential and personal [See Romans 14]. Instead, we like to take everything and make it part of the “gospel,” universal and applicable to all. We like to make everything a law unto itself, with commandments, rules, regulations, steps and procedures. We define what a “member” is by what they wear, how long their skirt is, whether their sleeves cover their shoulder, whether they have long hair or a beard. If you don’t measure up to the standards set forth, you fall and are deemed “unclean” and put on the path to conformity.

    ===========

    2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another … eateth aherbs.

    3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not ajudge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

    4 Who art thou that ajudgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    5 One man esteemeth one aday above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

    6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

    7 For none of us aliveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

    8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we adie unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

    9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be aLord both of the bdead and living.

    10 But why dost thou ajudge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the bjudgment seat of Christ.

    11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every aknee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall bconfess to God.

    12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a astumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

    14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing aunclean of itself: but to him that besteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

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  63. Justin on June 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Irony — you must keep in mind that Jeff comes from the mainstream of Mormon thinking — therefore he will be swept up in the currents of equating “gospel” with “everything the church teaches”.

    Anything published through official church-sanctioned channels are de facto the word of God by virtue of their high and holy callings — without the need to be subjected to the voice of the people. God called them and who are we to say anything different?

    You’ve had to quote the Book of Mormon definitions of “This is my gospel”…” and don’t teach more or less than this as my gospel” multiple times because mainstream thinking Mormons glaze right past them because that does not fit the “All Official Church Doctrine can be Circumscribed into One, Great Gospel Whole” world-view.

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  64. Jeff Spector on June 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    OK, folks, I’m done here. I see that you are much more enlightened regarding the Doctrine of Christ than I. I never realized that 8 verses in the Book of Mormon were, in fact, the only valid scriptures and that there is no need for the others.

    Thanks for sharing that with me. I hope that others reading the thread can become as enlightened as I have been.

    I guess I’ll just go back to reading the Ensign and blindly believing every word.

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  65. Will on June 30, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Irony,

    I agree that the section quoted is his Doctrine; however, as Jeff correctly stated it is not all inclusive. Otherwise, why have Prophets; the rest of the scriptures; or, Prophets for that matter? It is an executive summary with volumes of reveled commentary behind the salient points.

    Let’s take repentance for example. In order to repent, we to understand the rules – the difference between what is right and what is wrong. This requires scriptures, Prophets, Apostles, prayer, revelation, gospel study, family night, family prayer, priesthood lessons, interaction with the spirit, etctra. We also need to understand the repentance process, we need to have accountability with God and with his duly authorized representatives. This requires instruction and the organized church.

    Like repentance, there are volumes behind faith, baptism and receiving the spirit. Yes it is his doctrine – an executive summary of his doctrine.

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  66. Irony on July 1, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Nice to see Jeff become so easily exacerbated by a simple request or two. And here I thought he was a grown man, capable of carrying on a debate/discussion without getting upset.

    Again, what exactly do you disagree with in Romans 14 or the doctrine as defined by Christ? When Paul suggests that he’s “persuaded by the Lord Jesus” that nothing, in itself, is unclean, did he mean nothing but modesty? Nothing but laundry list of “unclean things” that the Church teaches today? Nothing but what?

    Will: Suffice it to say that I entirely disagree with the modern construct surrounding “repentance”. Likewise, I don’t think you need “scriptures, Prophets, Apostles, prayer, revelation, gospel study, family night, family prayer, priesthood lessons, interaction with the spirit, etctra” to realize what is right and wrong.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the scriptures paint a fascinatingly different picture. At least some of the writers in the BoM think so:

    For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.

    If something is given to us, and that something is given with the intention of knowing good from evil (or, in Will’s words, “right from wrong”), then the above quote is merely serving to restrict the flow of the Spirit. It’s setting up obstacles, steps, rules, procedures and the like whereby we, for example, think we’ve repented only after we’ve subscribed to the Church condoned curriculum on the matter.

    The scriptures, again, paint a fascinatingly different picture if we take the words at face value.

    I’m not saying that everything the Church teaches isn’t beneficial, or isn’t worthwhile, or isn’t perhaps useful… but I am saying that the definition of Christ’s doctrine and gospel is incredibly concise, per His own words. End of story.

    To take modesty, for example, and put up it “pretty high on the list” of the gospel is, IMO, to transfigure the gospel as defined by Christ. Let people repent and live out their own lives as the Spirit directs (Romans 14). Don’t put rules, parameters, obstacles, checklists and the like up all over and say “this is the Gospel.” All that does is make people think that the gospel is made up of 613 commandments and gospel principles that must be met in order to be loved by God.

    That doesn’t mean that we can’t teach or suggest other things, just that we don’t universalize the application of such. Christ consistently refocuses us on what really is the gospel and the application is necessarily personal (be it in 3 Nephi 11, or the parable of the lepers, or when speaking to the young rich man, or on and on).

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  67. Irony on July 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Will:

    “Let’s take repentance for example. In order to repent, we to understand the rules – the difference between what is right and what is wrong. This requires scriptures, Prophets, Apostles, prayer, revelation, gospel study, family night, family prayer, priesthood lessons, interaction with the spirit, etctra. We also need to understand the repentance process, we need to have accountability with God and with his duly authorized representatives. This requires instruction and the organized church.”

    Repentance in greek means to turn around, change ones mind. Repentance in Aramaic means to come home. Repentance in Hebrew means to return. Repentance in LDS means to complete the 6 step ‘R’ process, confess to local leaders, sit in silence for an indeterminable period of time and wait for some local leader to say “you’re whole.”

    All the references to accountability in Scripture is linked to God (being accountable to God alone), not to other brothers and sisters, or leaders. When we hold each other accountable we are really usurping God’s place.

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  68. Will on July 1, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Irony,

    On a cursory glance, it appears you are willing to accept what some prophets (Christ’s words via Nephi via Joseph Smith) words, but not others. If I may be so bold, it appears you have an issue with authority. It appears you have had or still have an issue with a local or general leader. That’s fine and that is definitely your right.

    I see things differently. I see the need for leaders. I see the need for Prophets now. If Abraham, or Nephi, or heck even Ezra Benson would have counseled members to avoid pornography via the internet they would have looked at them like a dear in the headlights.

    The spirit is given to men to know good from evil; however, the spirit does not always strive with man. Like most of us when it is offended it leaves. It doesn’t communicate with people that are not following the rules or living the commandments. If they are not receptive then they are not getting the message of God. Thus, the need for Prophets, Apostles, 70’s, full-time missionaries and local leaders. They are here to spread the message.

    Back to my previous point, it is impossible to repent unless you have done something wrong. It is impossible to know what is wrong without some guidance. With that said, how is one to know what they are doing wrong? You say the spirit; and, I respond with a quote from a Prophet and say the Spirit does not always strive with man. All told, there is a compelling need for modern Prophets.

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  69. Will on July 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    BTW, the Dear in the previous comment is a clueless, but sweet guy.

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